Writing Your Character’s World

Writing Your Character’s World

I taught a writing class last night at a local library, all about writing a character’s world. For those who couldn’t make it, here’s a recap: Writing Tip for Today: Let’s discuss the kinds of things we need for writing your character’s world: Who Am I? Writing a fictional character is more than simply “you” […]

Scene Writing: Stay in the Moment

Scene Writing: Stay in the Moment

One of the most common ways I teach scene writing to writers is by pointing out examples where a scene suddenly jumps off the rails. Readers are experiencing a scene, in a particular place and time, when poof! The particular-ness vanishes. Writing Tip for Today: How can writers know if they are “staying in scene?” […]

Write Better Scenes with the Rule of Three

Write Better Scenes with the Rule of Three

  When I teach or coach writing, at some point I usually mention the Rule of Three. I didn’t invent this idea—threes are everywhere in our lives—but I do find it useful for teaching writers how to pace their scenes. Writing Tip for Today: How can writing to the Rule of Three improve your scene […]

SCENE IT! Write in Scenes

SCENE IT! Write in Scenes

I’m in the middle of helping to judge a writing contest. Of the fifteen or so entries, I’m coming away with one suggestion to almost every writer: Scene it. Writing Tip for Today: On a “Big Picture” level, one sure-fire way to improve fiction, nonfiction or memoir is to learn to write a good scene. […]

Novel Writing Test: Whose Story Is It?

Novel Writing Test: Whose Story Is It?

  One of the most common manuscript problems I see in my coaching practice is that new novel writers especially tend to try to tell every character’s story—and end up telling no one’s story well. Writing Tip for Today: Let’s discuss some ways writers can choose the best character’s story to write: Most Determined Your […]

Writing Through Calamity

Writing Through Calamity

We writers are such an odd bunch—we make a thousand excuses for not getting our BICs (Butts in Chairs), but if we can’t get to the keyboard—due to illness, a calamity in the family or other trauma—we suddenly become very creative. At least I do. It’s reverse psychology of the irritating kind, but I’ve tried […]

Know Your Writing’s Genre

Know Your Writing’s Genre

One of the basic questions I like to ask fiction writers is, “What genre is your work?” By that, I mean, where in the bookstore or on the shelf could readers locate your book? If you take more than a half-second to answer, maybe you should take time to classify your book as closely as […]

Writing Back Story

Writing Back Story

While I’m away teaching at a conference, you might review the elements of writing back story in your fiction. Writing Tip for Today: Back story, or FLASHBACK, can lift your fiction–or sink it. Here are some tips: WHERE THE ACTION IS The question I get often is how readers can possibly sympathize with the Main […]

Writing Your Character to Life

Writing Your Character to Life

Many, if not all, writers begin their fiction with a character. In a writer’s mind, this character is a living, breathing person—seems so easy. But is she unforgettable? Bringing that character to life on the page takes extra effort. Writing Tip for Today: Here are three tips to help you write an unforgettable character: Unforgettable […]

Writing Your Character’s POV

Writing Your Character’s POV

  Point of View or POV, is one fiction area where many writers get confused. But getting viewpoint right doesn’t have to be a problem. Writing Tip for Today: Let’s review basic POVs and what they mean to writers and to readers: I, You, He, She, Us? The “I” voice, or First Person, has gained […]